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When and how do you tell your children that one of their grandparents is dying?

(5 Posts)
WhenMarnieWasThere Sat 13-Jun-15 16:52:22

My DF was diagnosed with bladder cancer last year. He's had chemo, but it hasn't worked. An operation is out of the question. Radiotherapy is being tried, but palliatively for relief, not as a 'cure'.

He's been told he has a year. I am aware it could be more or it could be a lot less depending on how the radiotherapy goes.

He's trying to get his affairs in order and to do a few practical things for my DMum's sake.

My DSis asked whether I'd told my DDs and it got me thinking. When do you face that conversation?

My girls are 11 and 15. DF has lost a lot of weight when he first became poorly (his tumour blocked his bladder and we nearly lost him to kidney failure last Christmas) but he's not gaunt. He's lost most of his hair, but as he's an older man (nearly 70) they don't appear to notice.

My gut feeling is that I don't tell them before I need to. I know how horrible the fear of losing him is and don't want to give them that fear too early.

throckenholt Sat 13-Jun-15 17:00:25

At that age, I would have told them sooner that there was a possibility that treatment might not work.

It shouldn't be a fear of losing him - it should be a knowledge that it will happen, sooner or later, and to appreciate the time they have with him now.

I am guessing that at least the older one will have figured it out for herself.

From here - I would just introduce the concept that treatment doesn't always work generally, and gradually open up about the treatment your DF is having and what is happening, and why. Be honest when they ask questions.

I remember my mum telling me about when her grandfather wsa dying when she was in her early teens. She knew he was not well, but was really shocked when he died, because all the adults had kept the facts from the children. When my mum was ill, I made sure my kids knew what was happening all the way through. It didn't scare them, they were upset because they knew she was not going to be around forever, but they took it all in their stride.

And find some time to look after yourself - going through this with a parent is very tough. Don't be afraid to show you are upset to the kids - it will help them let out their own emotions.

Ludoole Mon 15-Jun-15 01:58:16

I prepared my children as soon as we found out that my partner was ill. They were 11 and 14 then. We knew from diagnosis that his cancer was terminal and that treatment was only palliative. They are now 12 and 15 and accept that dp will die well before his time. They ask questions and i answer as honestly as i can.
They have know that my df is in late stage alzheimers and also has cancer and they have been prepared for his death too.
Im sorry you are having to deal with this and i agree with throckenholts suggestions above. Take care.

greener2 Tue 29-Sep-15 22:56:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheFuzz Thu 01-Oct-15 14:58:41

Tell them as soon as. My kids grad father was told he had 6 months when he actually had weeks. They will know something is wrong.

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